Helping local newsrooms reach Gen Z through shareable, social video

VidSpark is a yearlong program, funded by Google News Initiative and led by the Poynter Institute, that gave local newsrooms the resources and coaching they needed to reach teenage audiences through video storytelling.

Think about it like a local news lab. We aimed to experiment with new story forms and help newsrooms share their journalism with those who don’t currently feel compelled by the local news scene. After a year of learning, VidSpark produced a playbook that local newsrooms across the country can use to engage younger people in their communities and therefore become more sustainable in the future.

The three newsrooms that participated in VidSpark were:

  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • 89.7 GBH News in Boston
  • 10News WTSP in Tampa Bay, Florida

Each newsroom received $25,000 to build out and promote their video production efforts. Poynter provided intensive training and consultation to the newsrooms, covering everything from strategic best practices to using analytics to inform editorial choices. The newsrooms produced 98 videos during the program, publishing across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Here’s a sampling of what we made:

Tomorrow Together | The Star Tribune | Minneapolis, MN 

Tomorrow Together looks at how Minnesota is rapidly changing in the midst of the pandemic and after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Internet Expert | GBH News | Boston, MA

Internet Expert​ is a game show where contestants use their media literacy skills to sort fact from fiction on all things related to the 2020 election.

What’s Brewing | 10News WTSP | Tampa Bay, FL

What’s Brewing​ is an investigative series focused on issues affecting Florida residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.